Buffalo Grove Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Sexual abuse is a crime that can ruin lives. If you have been victimized, you may be reluctant to come forward because of fear or other strong emotions.
Although it's hard to speak up about what happened, if you don't hold your abuser accountable, they will get away with their crimes and continue hurting others.
You deserve justice for the trauma done to you and your loved ones! The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can ensure the sexual offender is held legally and financially responsible in civil and criminal court.
Contact a Buffalo Grove, Illinois personal injury lawyer (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice to schedule a free consultation. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis which means we only get paid when we win your case, so there is no risk in hiring us as your attorney today!
Holding a Predator Accountable for Sexual Assault
According to Illinois law, sexual predators can be prosecuted for criminal sexual assault even if the victim does not file a police report. In many cases, victims of sexual assault feel intimidated or too secure to go to the police.
Law enforcement officials and the courts rely on community pressure to be effective. They need you, the public, to help them ensure that sex offenders do not attack children or others in our neighborhood. If you suspect a child molester lives in your neighborhood, call the local police or sheriff's department.
The Illinois Appellate Court
Recently, an Illinois Appellate Court upheld a lower court's ruling that a sexual predator could be prosecuted for criminal sexual assault, even though the victim did not file a police report. This ruling is an important victory for those sexually assaulted and allows us to hold these perpetrators accountable.
This ruling is good news because it means that prosecutors will be more likely to pursue charges in cases where the victim is fearful or unwilling to come forward.
The Illinois Supreme Court
The Illinois Supreme Court recently clarified that prosecutors could file criminal sexual assault charges against a person, even if the victim does not want to cooperate or participate in the criminal justice system.
We must support victims of sexual assault and let them know that they are not alone. Many resources are available to them, including the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. You can also visit RAINN.org for more information.
When a Sex Offender Never Faces Charges in Criminal Court
Many sexual assault victims feel they have no place to determine if law enforcement and prosecutors do not press charges in criminal court against the alleged predator.
However, the state legislature has provided legal remedies for sexual abuse victims in civil court. Civil litigation can help recover monetary damages from a sex abuse perpetrator or a negligent third party.
In a civil case, the burden of proof is "preponderance of evidence" instead of "beyond a reasonable doubt" in criminal court. In other words, it's much easier for victims to win their cases using the civil legal process.
Sex Crimes and Childhood Sexual Abuse
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, as many as 97 percent of all childhood sexual abuse victims know their attacker. It is also believed that 90-95 percent of adults who experienced abuse as children never report the incident to law enforcement during childhood or later adulthood.
The Marriage and Family Review (1998) cites a study by Russell & Finkelhor (1984) that found only seven percent of sexually abused children disclosed abuse, and 97 percent of these cases were not investigated.
Facts about reporting:
- Fewer than 20% of sexual assaults on children are ever reported to the police or authorities. One study estimated that 80-90% of all child sexual abuse is never disclosed to anyone, including parents.
- Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows and trusts, such as a family member or friend.
- Sexual assault victims often feel ashamed, embarrassed, and guilty. They may also fear that they will not be believed or get in trouble.
- Victims of child sexual abuse often have difficulty later in life forming trusting relationships.
- The effects of sexual abuse vary but can include depression, anxiety, substance abuse problems, acting out behavior (including self-destructive acts), withdrawal, anger, and violence against oneself or others, particularly during adolescence. In addition, childhood victims are much more likely to become perpetrators.
- One study reported that 8% of males and 27% of females sexually abused as children attempted suicide.
What Is Childhood Sexual Abuse?
Childhood sexual abuse is defined as any sexual activity between a child and an adult or significantly older child. Abuse includes everything from touching to intercourse and could also include non-contact activities, such as exhibitionism, voyeurism, and pornography.
Childhood sexual abuse can be committed by a stranger or by someone known to the child, such as a family member, babysitter, friend, teacher, coach, or clergy member. It can also be an adult abusing a teenager if that adult is in a position of power (for example, a teacher). Sexual abuse is not the same as a sexual exploration between children.
Childhood sexual abuse can include:
- Contact between the mouth and genital area, including penetration of the vagina, penis, or anus with body parts or objects. Contact includes penetration of a child's mouth by an adult penis (oral sex) and penetration of an adult vagina or anus by any object used by a child
- Non-contact activities such as exposure to nudity, pornography, or sexual contact with animals
- Touching of the child's genitals or body for sexual pleasure
- Masturbation of the child by the adult
- Encouraging or forcing a child to take part in any sexual activity
- Showing pornographic pictures to a child
Statistics on Sexual Abuse
NCADV reports that one in three girls and one in six boys are sexually abused by the time they are 18 years old.
NCASA reports that 5% of children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday, 80 percent of which are assaulted by family members or relatives.
Though it is nearly impossible to obtain accurate statistics, the US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that between 60-90% of child sexual abuse victims are abused by someone they know or trust. Many abusers include the victim's family member, babysitter, neighbor, teacher, coach, or clergy member.
- The National Center for Victims of Crime reports that one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped in their lifetime
- Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that one in six women and one in 33 men have been victims of an attempted or completed rape
- 3% of college males report experiencing rape or attempted rape during their freshman year
- 9% of high school females report being physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend during the past year
Numerous reports indicate that many sexual predators never face the legal ramifications of abuse charges requiring a criminal defense, especially in cases involving a minor child.
What You Do If You Suspect a Child Is Being Sexually Abused
It can be very difficult to determine whether or not a child is being sexually abused, particularly if the abuse occurs behind closed doors. However, some signs may indicate that something is wrong. If you suspect that a child is being sexually abused, it is important to contact a professional immediately.
Some signs that a child may be being sexually abused include:
- Physical injuries, such as bruising or bleeding in the genital area, sexually transmitted diseases, unusual vaginal discharge, recurrent urinary tract infections, or problems walking or sitting
- Behavioral changes, such as:
- Depression, anger, or anxiety
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities
- Unusual sexual behaviors;
- Trouble sleeping, nightmares, and bedwetting
- Sexual knowledge that is inappropriate for their age
- Fear when certain people are present or when left alone with a specific person
The type of abuse that takes place can vary greatly. Some possible forms of abuse include:
- Verbal or emotional abuse makes it seem like sexual behavior is normal. For example, this may occur when a family member suggests that the child enjoys sex, wants sex with an adult, or asks inappropriate questions
- Forceful physical contact between an adult and child in which the child resists and receives no assistance from a trusted adult
- Use of physical force or coercion by an adult to engage in sexual activity with a child
- Sexual exploitation through photographing or filming a child involved in sexual behavior or through prostitution or trafficking to create pornographic materials
Another form of childhood sexual abuse that is largely unreported is the use of child pornography. Child pornography is any visual depiction of a child—real or simulated—engaging in sexual activity or posed in a sexually explicit manner.
A child can be harmed even if they are not exposed to pornographic material. Children who use child pornography are forced to engage in sexual acts and are often sexually abused. These children may experience physical injuries, psychological trauma, drug addiction, and social problems later in life.
In the past two decades, our society has been exposed to many child abuse cases via media sources such as TV news broadcasts and Internet news sites. One of the more recent cases includes Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State football coach recently convicted of child sex abuse.
As society becomes more aware of the subject, victims are encouraged to share their experiences. Every Buffalo road sexual abuse lawyer at our law firm serves clients throughout northern Illinois, including Lake County.
Nursing Home Abuse Including Sexual Assault
Vulnerable seniors living in nursing homes are at high risk for sexual assault, mistreatment, and abuse.
Sexual assault is a particularly heinous form of abuse, and it frequently goes unreported. For example, one study found that only 1 in 24 cases of sexual assault in nursing homes are ever reported to authorities.
This failure to report might be because many victims fear retaliation or don't think that anyone will believe them. They may also feel embarrassed or ashamed about what happened to them.
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of sexual abuse in a nursing home, it is important to contact an attorney right away.
The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have over 30 years of experience representing victims and their families, and we know how to build a strong case against those accused.
A person who suffers abuse at the hands of nursing home staff is likely to be traumatized by the incident, so it is important not to try and deal with such serious legal matters on your own.
It is equally important to contact a law firm specializing in nursing home abuse because these cases are extremely complex.
For instance, the statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault in Illinois is only two years, so it's crucial to act as quickly as possible if you want to file suit against those responsible.
Additionally, it will be important to prove that the sexual contact was not consensual.
In many cases, nursing home residents are forced into sex acts or other sexual behavior by those with power over them, including staff members who aren't on duty.
It is illegal for any staff member to engage in a sexual relationship with someone living in a nursing home, and any such relationship is grounds for immediate dismissal. If you have questions about sexual abuse in nursing homes, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.
Sexual Abuse at School and Religious Organizations
Many sexual abuse survivors were victims of sex crimes at school, church, the synagogue, or mosque. But, unfortunately, nearly all these cases go unreported because victims feel ashamed, embarrassed, and fearful of the consequences. Often, they're worried that they won't be believed or that they will be blamed for the abuse.
In some cases, school officials have been accused of failing to report sexual abuse allegations to authorities. In other instances, religious leaders have been accused of ignoring warning signs or actively covering up abuse.
Many survivors of sexual abuse at school or church struggle with feelings of guilt and self-blame. It's important to remember that you are not responsible for the abuse. The person who abused you is the only one responsible for their actions.
In the last two decades, the Roman Catholic Church has faced a barrage of accusations of hiding or protecting priests, and other religious leaders, charged with sexual assault. In addition, church leaders have been accused of moving predatory priests from parish to parish instead of reporting them to the authorities.
In 2012, a grand jury report revealed that 300 "predator priests" had molested more than 1,000 children in the state of Pennsylvania over 70 years. In some cases, church leaders knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it.
In the aftermath of the report, the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has instituted many reforms, including requiring all priests to undergo background checks and training in child sexual abuse prevention. The church has also paid millions of dollars in settlements to sexual abuse victims.
Unfortunately, sexual abuse is not limited to religious organizations. According to the US Department of Justice, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
It Has Been Decades Since I Was Sexually Abuse! Do I Still Have a Case?
Typically, the statute of limitations restricts the amount of time anyone can file a civil lawsuit citing damages. However, in child sexual abuse cases, that Limitation has been extended in nearly every state.
In Illinois, victims of child sexual abuse have until they reach the age of 38 to bring a lawsuit, which is one of the longest statutes of limitations in the country.
The extended time is good news for victims, who often take many years to deal with what has happened to them. However, they may also fear coming forward because abusers often threaten their victims into silence.
As is the case with most states, in Illinois, victims of child sexual abuse file civil lawsuits against their abusers or the institutions that allowed the abuse to happen (such as schools or churches). They are seeking money damages (an amount of money equivalent to what they would have earned had they not been sexually abused) by demonstrating that the abuse has impacted their lives.
For example, drug or alcohol addiction is often a side effect of child sexual abuse. So too are problems maintaining healthy relationships with others, depression, anger management issues, and more.
A victim's life may also be riddled with feelings of guilt that can lead to self-destructive behavior such as prostitution or suicide.
If you have been sexually abused as a child, it is important to know that you are not alone. Some people can help you through this difficult time, including attorneys specializing in child sexual abuse cases.
Don't hesitate to contact a Buffalo Grove sexual abuse lawyer from our law office for a free consultation. We will review your case and know if you have a viable legal claim.
An experienced attorney can help you seek compensation even if the sexual predator does not face criminal charges.
Our law firm represents clients in different practice areas throughout Illinois, including in Cook County, DuPage County, McHenry County, Kane County, Kendall County, Winnebago County, elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect, Hoffman Estates, Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Highland Park, Lake Forest, and the Chicago area.
Our attorneys have been practicing law for years throughout Illinois and practice areas ranging from personal injury accidents, child custody, estate planning, child support, and others.
Speak With a Buffalo Growth Sexual Assault Lawyer for Legal Advice to Resolve a Compensation Case
At the law offices of Roseville Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys understand that seeking justice after being sexually abused as a child can be difficult. Therefore, we offer free consultations to all victims to get the information they need to make the best decision for their future.
Call our legal team today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This promise ensures you pay nothing until your legal issues are resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury award.